There was a shakeup on the inside for the Hawkeyes this week with Steve Bigach spending more time at DT than DE. Bigach played the first series at DT and worked mostly there throughout the game. It may have been an effort to get a little more mobility at the DT position to help contain Steele Jantz. As a group, you really have to appreciate the way these guys have played. I suspected the DTs would develop quickly, but the play from the DEs has exceeded my expectations so far.
Another week and another forced fumble for Joe Gaglione. This week’s play was a result of Jantz trying to hold the mesh too long on a zone read and Gaglione didn’t stand on ceremony; he just charged into the mesh point and the ball came loose. The DEs were playing a containment assignment with Jantz, and they did it well at most times. Jantz slipped free a few times but was contained more often than not. We got our first look at Riley McMinn in live action this week and he recorded an assisted tackle on the series he got in on. He didn’t really stand out or get challenged but the more bodies Iowa can rotate on the DL the better. Dom Alvis had the big special teams mistake but otherwise was pretty solid in this game. He played a big part in the effort to keep Jantz from breaking contain and extending plays as he did last year. Another very sound week for a position that many figured (myself included) would be a pain point going into the season.
1) Joe Gaglione(3TOT, 1TFL, Forced Fumble)
2) Dom Alvis(2TOT, 1TFL, 1 Fumble recovery)
3) Steve Bigach(3TOT)
4) Riley McMinn(1TOT)
After last week I was a little concerned the DT position was going to have issues stopping the run, but they more than did their job this week. They did an excellent job shedding blocks and clogging running lanes this week. With all the action in the back-field these guys had their work cut out for them finding the football and were a much better as a group against the run this week. Carl Davis had a nice stop for no gain after shedding a block on the inside and is something Iowa will. Louis Trinca-Pasat is starting to get more comfortable inside and has started using his quickness and low center of gravity to beat some blocks inside. He still struggled with double teams and would get engulfed at times due to his size, but he’s growing up quickly in the trenches.
The DTs ability to get a pass rush was not as good as you’d like to see , however. They were often unable to compress the pocket and get pressure in Jantz’s face. Part of it looked to be by design and they clearly wanted to keep Jantz in the pocket as much as possible. Of the DTs, Cooper and LTP appear to be the most mobile and athletic pass rushers, but neither was making Jantz move his feet very often. Iowa didn’t blitz a lot in this game and ran a lot of DL games up front to create issues for the ISU OL. The best pressures I saw at DT came from Bigach who split time between DT and DE.
1) Louis Trinca-Pasat(4TOT 1.5 TFL)
2) Darian Cooper(2TOT, .5TFL)
4) Carl Davis(2TOT)
5) Mike Hardy(1 TOT)